Author: Tom Royal

Matsuyama and Dōgo Onsen

Matsuyama, the capital of Ehime prefecture, is located up on the North-West coast of Shikoku. It’s a well-connected and busy city, but I passed through en-route to the Shimanami Kaidō with just one key goal: to get to the famous Dōgo Onsen and have a soak. As it happened, things ended up a lot more interesting […]

Cape Ashizuri and Oki Beach

The Iya Valley might be the part of Shikoku most visited by people wanting to see the remote countryside, but the far South of the island, around Cape Ashizuri, feels like the most remote part. It’s rugged, beautiful, hardly touristed and well worth a day of your time – if you can get there. Arriving and Transport This […]


On the south coast of Shikoku, Kouchi has a notable castle and some beautiful parks and temples. It’s also home to a great food market where you can eat and drink into the night, and makes a good starting point for any trip to Shikoku’s south west cape. Arriving and Transport Kouchi is easy to […]

The Iya Valley

The Iya Valley, made famous by the book “Lost Japan”, is a beautiful, ragged region in the heart of Shikoku where clear blue rivers cut down steep, wooded gorges, and homes perch up on the hillsides, linked only by winding switchback roads.


If you’re planning a trip around Shikoku, Tokushima is a natural starting point – partly because of easy transport links from Honshu, and partly because it’s also the start of the island’s traditional circular pilgrimage route. It’s a great place to fight off the jet-lag, see some beautiful temples, and make the most of tasty […]


There are two types of visitor to Japan: those who’ve never visited an onsen, and those who, having visited one, end up slightly obsessed with visiting more and more of them. Having stumbled into the latter camp on my very first trip, I’d say an onsen (or two, or ten) is an unmissable part of any […]


If you like the occasional cup of coffee, you can probably skip this page. If, like me, you require at least three strong cups of coffee every morning before you’re capable of doing anything even remotely complicated (like walking up stairs, or remembering your phone), you’ll probably want to know where to get a good […]

Internet Access

In a country as technologically advanced as Japan, you might not think that getting online would be a problem – but that’s not always the case. Although internet access is available all over the place, it’s not always easy to make use of if you’re not a resident with a local mobile phone subscription. That’s not to […]


On the train between Furano and Asahikawa, I couldn’t resist stopping in the tiny, pretty town of Biei. I only had time to visit for a couple of hours, but it’s so lovely that I wanted to mention it here to encourage others to visit. Like Furano, Biei is a beautiful countryside town, surrounded by […]